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Detroit / Ford Field (1 Viewer)


Detroit as Host for Super Bowl XL

From the Chicago Sun Times:

Super Bowl host hoping for warm reception

September 11, 2005



DETROIT -- The Motor City is determined to show visitors a good time at Super Bowl XL with a 200-foot-long snow slide, sled dogs, ice skating and Midwestern hospitality.

And for those reluctant to linger outside at a winter carnival in February, heated tents will feature big-time bands, food and drink in Detroit's new-look downtown.

''People had a good time in the cold at the Olympics in Salt Lake City, and with all due respect, I think there's a lot more to do in Detroit than Salt Lake City,'' said Roger Penske, Super Bowl XL host committee chairman. ''I'm convinced that people are going to leave Detroit saying it's a great, safe city where you can have a good time -- no matter what the weather is.''

The Super Bowl, usually played in warm-weather locales such as Miami and Los Angeles, will venture to a northern city for just the third time. Minneapolis hosted the event in 1992, and Pontiac, Mich., did 10 years earlier.

Ford Motor Co. CEO Bill Ford, whose father owns the Lions, started the process of bringing the Super Bowl back to Michigan about 10 years ago during a lunch meeting with former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer.

''That was the time I started to envision Ford Field, and I thought if we built it good enough, we'd have a shot to get the Super Bowl -- even though we'd face obstacles as a northern city,'' Ford told the Associated Press. ''When the dream came together and we went to the NFL owners, some of them looked at me like, 'You've got to be kidding.' But when we showed them the plans for Ford Field, they were blown away instantly.''

Unlike the Pontiac Silverdome, site of Super Bowl XVI and San Francisco's first of five titles, Ford Field oozes character.

The 1.85 million-square-foot structure looks like a huge loft apartment with exposed brick, heating and cooling ducts and plenty of natural light shining through windows and translucent panels.

Inside the $500 million stadium that opened in 2002, the 95-year old Hudson's warehouse is incorporated into one side of the field and fans can see Detroit's skyline through a 65-foot high glass wall.

''I visited all of the domes in the NFL on a 10-day trip and two things struck me that I didn't want to duplicate,'' Ford said. ''You never knew what city you were in, and you didn't know if it was day or night. That's not the case at Ford Field.''

Besides having a nice stadium, Detroit landed the 2006 Super Bowl in part because of the money and power of Ford, General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG.

When Detroit made its presentation to the NFL in 2000, each owner received a black plaque with three miniature cars: a red Corvette, a silver PT Cruiser and a yellow Thunderbird, representing each of the traditional Big Three automakers.

''We compete in the business world every day and try to beat each other's brains in, but we easily got together to bring the Super Bowl here,'' Ford said. ''It's important for us to make this community show well both nationally and internationally.''

While the Super Bowl inside the stadium will be the focus on Feb.5, what happens outside its doors in the week leading up to the game is perhaps more important to Detroit.

Since the city was awarded the most-hyped annual sporting event in the world, massive changes have taken place, including:

*Compuware Corp. moved from the suburbs to downtown in a spectacular, 15-story, $350 million building that attracted a Hard Rock Cafe, a Borders bookstore, a FedEx Kinko's and a Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop and looms over Campus Martius Park, where some will ice skate before the Super Bowl.

*GM completed an overhaul of the Renaissance Center skyscrapers along the redeveloped Detroit River riverfront, which separates the United States from Canada.

*Abandoned buildings are being converted into loft apartments and office space.

''We have an opportunity to show the world that this is a much different place than it was in 1982, the last time we hosted the Super Bowl,'' said Penske, a racing legend who made his fortune in the automobile industry. ''A renaissance is taking place in what was a decaying inner city, and I can't wait for the world to see the new Detroit.''

But if columnists and broadcast pundits want to rip Detroit, as they do most Super Bowl cities, they have fodder for their arguments.

More than one-third of the residents lived at or below the federal poverty line in 2004, making Detroit the nation's most impoverished big city.

Many people with money left the city for the sprawling suburbs decades ago. Detroit has lost about half its population since the 1950s.

''The Super Bowl will change the conversation about Detroit,'' Super Bowl XL host committee director Susan Sherer said. "With the Super Bowl, the Ryder Cup, baseball's All-Star Game and the Final Four all in a five-year stretch, we have a series of events that collectively will show people that Detroit is a great destination.''


The weather here for about the past month has been unusually mild, which worries me a lot. I expect the blizzard to start Friday night.

I am sure the 30,000 ford employees who found out yesterday their plants were closing and they were losing their jobs are excited about how much work and effort the Fords put into the city getting a Superbowl! :X

I am sure the 30,000 ford employees who found out yesterday their plants were closing and they were losing their jobs are excited about how much work and effort the Fords put into the city getting a Superbowl! :X
That's just silly.As if the Fords didn't put effort into getting the Super Bowl, Ford Motor Company would be sailing along at the top of the charts. Ugh.


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